Mike Quinn Mike.Quinn at tpwd.state.tx.us
Fri Apr 21 11:15:25 EDT 2006

The Southern Lepidopterists' Society is considering putting their
newsletter online. This is an excerpt of the December 2005 issue that
was posted (for members) at their website:
http://www.southernlepsoc.org/newsletter.html It's another post Katrina
followup from the lepidopterist Vernon Brou who lives in Albit Springs
on the north shore of Lake Ponchartrain opposite New Orleans. Mike
Quinn, Austin


(2005) SOUTHERN LEPIDOPTERISTS' NEWS 27(4): 110-113.


[This E-Mail was received by the Editor on October 30, 2005.]

Fellow Lepidopterist,

This week, I have spoken twice to Rick Kergosien who lived about a block
from the beach in Long Beach, Mississippi, prior to Hurricane Katrina.
There was a 28 foot surge of water at his location from the Gulf of
Mexico when Hurricane Katrina hit coastal Mississippi on August 28,
2005. Rick's home was completely washed away, only a slab and the bushes
in front of where his home was, exist now. Eight thousand other homes
similarly were washed away in coastal Mississippi. As many of you who
know him, he has collected since a teenager in Mississippi and for more
than 30 years collected a significant quantity of the 200,000 or so
specimens that comprised the numerically logged personal collection of
noted Mississippi lepidopterist Bryant Mather.

Few people know that Bryant never ran a light trap, a puzzling situation
for a moth collector. Bryant told me once, he tried a 15 watt blacklight
for a few nights, caught nothing and decided, it wasn't worth the
effort. In fact, most of Bryant's material was derived from truck stop
walls, walls of the Waterways Experiment Station at Vicksburg,
Mississippi, shopping center walls and windows, friends, neighbors, and
numerous other collectors in and out of Mississippi.

In the past 15 years, Rick was able to run a series of light traps
across the state, and for several years kept a personal collection of
the rarest lepidoptera he collected. His collection contained numerous
rarities, paratypes and newly discovered species of Mississippi. I was
privileged to see much of this material as Rick brought newly captured
material to me to look over several times a year for many years. Rick
said before he evacuated for the approach of Hurricane Katrina, that he
placed all of his valuables and his collection well off the floor in his
home in case he sustained flood waters in his home. The loss of Rick's
collection is a major loss for the state of Mississippi. Rick, wife,
children and grandchildren are all safe.


Hopefully, I will get back to my lepidoptera research by 2006. So far,
since August 29, my hurricane related cost amount to $13-14,000 out of
my pocket and will eventually be 5-10 times that in time. Crew clearing
some downed trees on less than one acre of my 10 acres at a cost of
$6,000.00 - that is what I originally paid per acre for the property
some 24 years ago and I am lucky as most contractors want double that
amount. It has been hell here for the last couple of months, massive
tree damage on my property. I will add the latest Hurricane Katrina
blurb here that I have sent out to many recently. [Some of the following
information was originally published in the September issue of the SLS
News (Vol. 27 NO. 3, 2005) - the Editor]. Much of the city of New
Orleans residential areas are nearly a ghost town as homes will have to
be bulldozed being under rooftop high sewer laden water for over a
month. Residents of the city of New Orleans have relocated to all 50
states, 30-40,000 to the Houston, Texas, area alone, and most will never
return as there homes were destroyed. Some residents of New Orleans are
just in the last few days returning now two months later to see their
homes or where their homes one stood.

Regarding Hurricane Katrina at Abita Springs, on the edge of the eye of

Just got my phone line in on October 10, out since the hurricane on
8-28-29. I just learned about Ron Gatrelle's death - did you know him?
He was a long time noted butterfly specialist and published researcher
in South Carolina and he appears to have died from a blood clot in his
leg after a long plane ride home from a Lepidopterist meeting out west
just recently. Here is my latest blurb on the mess here. Just bought my
third chainsaw since the hurricane. I will be cutting trees for the rest
of my life. I have enough timber to construct a nice size house - if it
were only usable. My lifelong non-stop span of continuous light trapping
was halted at 35 2/3 years - no electricity for a month. Have found 4 of
my light traps so far ok. Two others in the rear of my property have yet
to be seen as I cannot access the area due to the tangle of trees though
I have tried for two months. I hope to cut a path through the huge trees
in the weeks or months to come - some are piled 3 and 4 upon each other.

The 40 foot wide road through the center of my Abita Springs property
after Hurricane Katrina is now impassable. Note the absence of all large
trees among the trees left standing. Seventy-80% of all my pines alone
were lost.

Post office working ok now here in Abita, though the New Orleans post
office which is the distribution center for all of southeast Louisiana
has yet to get their equipment back in service. I finally can access my
home e-mail, electricity returned after nearly 4 weeks at my home, lost
2 weeks of pay at work when I was confined to home. I'm still here. I
have thousands of trees down, all pointing south on my little 10 acres
of property; probably about 90% of all my large trees are destroyed,
including nearly 100% of all of my largest red oaks, white oaks,
cypress, dogwood, cherry, ash, magnolias, maples, hollies, pine, etc.
Also, lost most all of the 120 gourmet variety pear and apple trees I
had planted 20 years ago. My home is OK, collection of insects taken
over 50 years is OK. Have 3300 feet of fence mostly smashed to the
ground by huge trees. Now bought 2 more generators to add to the three I
already had. The hurricane was devastating to the environment here, my
mother lived in New Orleans and had 10.5 feet of water there and has
lost everything, water to rooftops, as many hundreds of thousands of
others here in Louisiana, 1050 bodies so far found here in Louisiana
alone, hundreds more in other states, then much of coastal Louisiana and
Mississippi were wiped off the earth, homes and structures and the land
were washed away by the huge storm waves and no longer exist. I had no
land phone or cell phone sometimes, both systems out of service,
thousands of electric poles and wires had to be completely reinstalled.
My rural electric company has to completely reinstall all 100% of their
supply system, replacing 10 poles for each customer they have.

Nine hundred feet across the front of my property looks like this and
that represents only about one acre of my 10 acres. Still 9 acres to go.

Lost most of the thousands of larvae I had in sleeves on my trees, the
polyester fabric was ripped to shreds along with the trees. (s) I am at
home cutting trees for two months now and will be doing so for the rest
of my life, and had initially for 4 weeks minimal power from running 2
gasoline powered generators to have my water well working - I am in a
rural area away from the bigger towns and cities. Hundreds of thousands
of people have lost their jobs and homes permanently. I am a Registered
Nurse Case Manager at Ochsner Hospital one of 4 hospitals remaining in
the area, 8 hospitals were lost in New Orleans, three of those will
probably not reopen, ever.

I received perhaps 400+ emails from all over the world since the
hurricane, including many museums here in the US offering to come save
my lifetime collection of Louisiana insects. Hundreds of thousands of
people have yet to return to their homes or where their homes once were,
66,000 residents of one entire coastal Louisiana parish (= county) were
told they would not be allowed to come back to their property and homes
for about one year, though many of them now own property underwater now
part of the Gulf of Mexico. I hope to get back to some basic existence
by the end of the year. Phone company finally connected my phone after 6
weeks. Many of my coworkers have only a concrete slab remaining of their
homes and some persons cannot even access where their homes existed as
the highways to get there now end at the Gulf of Mexico. About 2000
employees at this hospital have yet to be heard from now 2 months after
the hurricane, probably evacuated to other areas and other states with
no home to return to. Eight hundred + employees at my hospital have
requested assistance with new housing. Then more devastation from
Hurricane Rita, reflooding of New Orleans and new flooding for all of
coastal Louisiana - the southwest coastal areas of Louisiana were washed
away by Rita, just as the Mississippi coastal areas were for Katrina. In
some areas near me, the only tree I see for acres which did well in the
hurricane is Magnolia virginiana, though some of those more mature ones
were blown over too. Perhaps I will be able to restart light trapping in
2006, though I just put one trap back up and on two weeks ago. Should
have a few articles for the next newsletter in a couple of months - all
of my records and research and Lepidoptera library are intact. We are
now subject to a fire threat from all the drying vegetation and dead
trees and no significant rain for 2 months, the 3rd driest October on

This white oak, like all my large white and red oaks were blown over
with the root ball. This [~15ft tall] stump flew back nearly upright
when I cut it.


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